Quarterly Essay 69: Moment of Truth: History and Australia's Future
In this inspiring essay, Mark McKenna considers the role of history in making and unmaking the nation. From Captain Cook to the frontier wars, from Australia Day to the Uluru Statement, we are seeing passionate debates and fresh recognitions. McKenna argues that it is time to move beyond the history wars, and that truth-telling about the past will be liberating and healing. This is a superb account of a nation's moment of truth.
oThe time for pitting white against black, shame against pride, and one people's history against another's, has had its day. After nearly fifty years of deeply divisive debates over the country's foundation and its legacy for Indigenous Australians, Australia stands at a crossroads - we either make the commonwealth stronger and more complete through an honest reckoning with the past, or we unmake the nation by clinging to triumphant narratives in which the violence inherent in the nation's foundation is trivialised.o
Mark McKenna, Moment of Truth
Mark McKenna is one of Australia's leading historians. He has written several highly acclaimed books, including From the Edge- Australia's Lost Histories, An Eye for Eternity- The Life of Manning Clark and Looking for Blackfellas' Point- An Australian History of Place. He is professor of history at the University of Sydney.